President-elect Joe Biden faced a grueling battle on his road to the White House.
But his challenges aren’t over.
Biden will inherit a nation still facing down the coronavirus pandemic, economic turmoil as a result of the virus, nationwide unrest because of racial injustice and growing concerns over climate change.
And he’ll be dealing with all of them with Republicans likely still holding control of the Senate.
Here are some of the top issues that Biden will face going into the presidency:
The coronavirus pandemic is far from over. Cases are surging across the nation as many states are in their eighth month of enforcing some sort of social distancing guidelines.
A record 121,888 new COVID-19 infections were tallied across the country Thursday. More than 231,000 people in the United States have died from the virus, and more than 9 million Americans have contracted it.
Throughout the campaign, Biden has laid out some things he would do to combat COVID-19.
He has said he would contact governors to help implement a mask mandate. If they refuse, the former vice president has said he would turn to local officials.
Biden also said he would launch a national plan to expand testing for the virus, implement national guidelines for states to reopen at the guidance of scientists and said the coronavirus vaccine would be free once it’s available.
Biden’s road to the White House was paved by Black voters, in the primary and in the last several days of the election, when many of Biden’s winning votes came from voters in Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee and Atlanta.
But Black Americans, along with white allies and other people of color, continue to protest in the streets nationwide against police-involved shootings and racial injustice.
Biden, who has publicly used the phrase “Black lives matter,” released a plan that includes an array of policies to address systemic racism, which includes investing in Black-owned small businesses, creating a new tax credit to help Black Americans buy homes, and investing in historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
The president-elect will need to address racial tensions across the country in the immediate future, and not just point to his plan.
Stefanie Brown James, who led Obama for America’s effort to engage African American leaders and voters in 2012 and co-founder of Collective PAC, told USA TODAY that activists within the movement aren’t going to remain silent under a Biden presidency.
She said she expects a number of community tasks forces will be developed by the administration, and they must include “community leaders from Black Lives Matter and just Black organizations, period.”
“There will continue to be a push of Biden and Harris to make good on their promises,” she said. “There’s also going to be a larger push for Congress to do the same.”
Just one day after the general election, Biden promised that on Day 1 of his presidency, he would rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, a plan signed under the Obama administration to combat climate change.
Activists will likely want to see more than just signing back on to the Paris agreement from the former vice president once he’s in office.
Young voters and progressives will likely push Biden to support policies such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal. Biden does not support the Green New Deal, but he has released his own plan with the goal to get “100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions no later than 2050.”
Progressives, such as Waleed Shahid, communications director of Justice Democrats, said activists are going to want to see Biden pass a big economic stimulus package that includes funding to address systemic racism and climate change.
“Progressive are going to pay really close attention to how bold, how big his stimulus package is, and whether it will move our country toward solving the huge crisis we’re going through,” he said.